How many bytes in a Tweet?

We all know (well, most people on the internet) know that a Tweet has 140 characters, which you can (typically) store in 140 bytes. Plus overhead for username, datestamp, etc.

But how many bytes does a tweet actually take up in a week’s lifetime? Everywhere, on everything?

Let’s see: has my tweet on their servers. Probably on a handful of hard drives at various points in their internal infrastructure. And I bet they use a content delivery network, which means it’s replicated on another handful of hard drives around the world.

Each Twitter follower gets at least one copy in their client – so in my case that’s another 100 or so hard disks that have a copy somewhere. (Yes, it’s true, I only have ~100 followers. My twitter ego is sad.)

All of my feeds and my friend’s feeds store a copy of my tweet. That’s another whole handful of feed aggregator server systems that it’s stored on, to say nothing of the number of web/RSS/Atom clients that cache a copy of the page locally when someone reads the feed.

With Twitter’s popularity, tweets get widely searched. This week, for example, #MoonFruit is giving away MacBooks by randomly selecting tweets with their hashtag. That means plenty of people are searching for that hashtag, and all those people will get copies of my tweet as well.

And nowhere have we talked about how Google and other search engines store crawl and query results across their labs full of machines – that probably adds dozens of other instances of at least bits of each tweet.

So – what’s the peak number of aggregate storage bytes that one tweet uses over a week’s lifetime?

It’s interesting to think that all of that storage – something that just 20 years ago would have been quite expensive – is now used for something as mundane as telling your friends and random followers when you’re taking a coffee break. Moore’s Law certainly enables us to do some amazing things with information and communication – as well as lots and lots of inane things.

I need a NAS

An update to my previous post: my backup drive has started failing this week as well, capping off what’s been a stressful couple of weeks. It’s not completely dead – I have strong hopes of being able to copy it’s contents – but it’s clearly not happy.

Does anyone have strong personal suggestions for a home 1TB NAS that’s fairly easy to setup and has at least basic media streaming features? RSVP ASAP since I’ll be heading to MicroCenter and buying a new one tomorrow.

I is a geek, so I’m happy doing some hacker setup, but when it comes to backup and file storage, I mostly want it to just work. I’d also prefer something reasonably quiet and power efficient; print server will be a bonus for when I buy a printer that actually works; both easy Mac and Windows access required. Although it sounds silly, RAID would be nice, since I know once I get it setup it’ll be a while before I actually get around to backing it all up to organized DVDs.

Update: Thanks to the thousands of callers who’ve dialed in to comment and remind me that of course what I’m looking for is a NAS, not a NAT. Just one last speleling mistake to cap off the past weak. And yes, I’d prefer one of the linux ones; in this particular case I’d rather pull a little more hair out trying to get it to work rather than selling just a little bit more of my soul for proprietary software.

I want a Unix-y Mac more like Windows

No, seriously. While $dayjob is primarily done on Windows – for convenience with legacy apps – I have a year old MBP that I absolutely love – most of the time. When will we ever have the best of them all?

Once you learn enough of the cryptically arcane symbols that serve as the magic handshake to actually get Unix-like boxes to do something useful, there really is a lot of quickly accessible power in there. All sorts of file, web, data, and network processing is possible from a few short and simple (er, cryptically arcane) lines of text. Even better, with Cygwin and the like, it’s possible to take some of this power all over the place.

Macs are magic – most of the time. 80% of the things you touch, click, or CTRL-click on a Mac just ‘Do The Right Thing’. Not only is it intuitive, it’s also beautiful. Hmmm, I’ll have that one – click – done. Oh, cool – it also buttered my toast while measuring milk for my coffee – delicious and convenient all in one!

The other 20% is the arsenic-laced inner seeds of Macdom. The moment you step off the path of the One True Way, you’re lost. Even worse than being lost, even after scouring the forums and tips and clicking on every pretty button there is, you find out that there just plain isn’t any way to accomplish what you want.

Now in Unix, you get lost plenty. But there you should expect it, ever since you passed by that #!/bin sh echo "Abandon All Hope" line a while back. In Macdom, it’s all the more frustrating when you find yourself adrift, with no obvious or unobvious way to get what you want.

On Windows, it’s reversed: 20% of the things work the way you expect. The other 80% are different, and they’re different between each set of applications you use too boot. But once you learn the arcanely cryptic menu accelerator keys, you get by pretty well. And the great thing about Windows is that if you want to do something unusual, then you can find a way to do it. It may require downloading an unsupported program to hack the underlying data file, and it may not be portable anywhere else, but it will work. You do have options.

So I want just enough of the core power of Unix shells and potentially portable, higher level scripting languages. Then I want the beauty and simplicity of Mac to manage it all for me without too much typing most of the time.

Then when I decide to do one of those aberrant things that the Mac Gods have declared not worthy, I want the breadth of semi-pro hack tools available on Windows to get it to do exactly what I want.

That, or an iPhone that fits in my pocket with a screen that magically expanded when needed. I’d settle for that, I guess.

Brutally honest phising spam

I got a refreshingly direct and honest phishing spam email today; in fact the only real complaint I have about it is how confusingly it’s written. It simply asks you to send them your username and password. No tricks, no fancy hidden links or disguised graphics. Just a plain old request for your password via email.

Dear Webmail User,
This message was sent automatically by a program on Webmail …
Your mailbox has exceeded the storage limit set by your administrator. …

To help us re-set your SPACE on our database prior to maintain your INBOX,you must contact your system administrator by replying this e-mail and enter your: Current Username: { } and PW: { } to increase your storage limit.

Thank you for your cooperation.

The best thing is: what username and password? They don’t even know what email system you think you use! I suppose I’d have to guess they’re targeting hotmail users for storing dictionaries of user/password word frequencies, since the only two links are to hotmail and

The mail came from apparently at for those curious.

“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.”

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.
I’m half crazy all for the love of you.
It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage.
But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

With Google’s new CADIE technology improving search results even more today, I’m surprised that more people haven’t figured out there are now new ways to improve your search results. For example, I don’t even need to mention names to get more search hits, since it’s obvious who CADIE might want to meet.

More importantly: I hope to update my commenting system to take advantage of Autopilot so that I can keep the conversation going with all of my readers.

Separately, Opera’s new Face Gestures is worth a second look.